GM Brandon Beane
Opening Statement: Obviously, we’re very excited to get Anquan [Boldin] on board and see what he brings from a leadership standpoint. Obviously his production speaks for itself.
Q: At one point you said things were at a standstill, [Anquan Boldin] was pondering options. How confident were you it was going to get done?
A: I was very confident that we were a team that he thought was a fit and we thought was a fit. We had a great visit back a couple weeks ago when he visited us in Buffalo. Everything went great, he left, the agent - everybody was very confident that the Bills were a good fit but I know he had some other options out there. The other thing; this was an important family decision. Sean [McDermott] and I preach family, culture, character and we’re not going to try to talk him into something that he doesn’t feel is a good family fit. I think he had to talk that out with his wife, his kids – it was very important. I think it was our job to help him with all the facts of what we could do and fitting his family into Buffalo and it came to the point where everybody thought it was a good fit and he’s here today.
Q: When did this become a realistic option, where you thought, “this is actually going to happen?”
A: I would say over the last two to three days, conversations really picked up that his wife was involved, like any wife would be. This was a family decision for Anquan [Boldin] and I respect the thorough process that they went through to make the decision.
Q: There was a report online over the past hour or so that he backed out of a deal with the Bills on Thursday or something to that effect a week ago.
A: I wouldn’t call it backed out. We had conversations in the sense of we knew where the money needed to be and we had agreed on that, but it was never a backed out. I would never categorize it as that.
Q: When was the final call made to you? Either his agent or him said “I’ve decided I want to join the Bills?”
A: Roughly a couple of days ago.
Q: What does he – just the fact that you get a guy with that kind of veteran presence, that kind of…he plays such a physical style of game and just his ability. What does he do and add to your receiving core?
A: Well the good thing about Anquan [Boldin] is what he brings on the field and off the field. You’re talking about a [Walter Payton] Man of the Year and he’s ninth all-time on the receiving list. He’s like the fastest to 600 receptions. This guy has over 1,000 catches. I mean, look at the history and the names there. It’s pretty remarkable, in my opinion, a hall of famer. To add that guy on the field and then a man of the year off the field – Sean [McDermott] and I preach culture and I think our receiving room is fairly young still. I think not only is he going to help those guys show what a pro’s pro and what it takes on the field, in the meeting rooms, in the training room, how to eat right – those are the things when I called around and asked about Anquan, who he was, before we even pursued him and that’s what I look forward to him bringing here to Buffalo.
Q: What do you think is realistic in terms of the blend that you know he’s quick on the uptake, being a veteran, but just in terms of what’s realistic before he’s up to speed and ready to roll here in this offense?
A: I don’t want to get into how quick, I think that’s up to the coaches. I know he’s been working out twice a day, I know he knows what it takes, so I have no doubt he will blend in pretty quick. I don’t want to say by week three, by week two, preseason or anything like that, but I have no doubt he’ll be up quicker than any other receiver that we would sign off the street.
Q: Is the expectation that he is going to start?
A: Oh, I’m not putting that out there. He is going to provide depth and he’ll compete to do everything and everybody’s going to compete to start [and] for playing time. Again, my job is to bring as many players as I can to help this roster. That’s up to coach [Rick] Dennison, Sean [McDermott] and receivers coach how they work him in.
Q: What does this move say, though, about how the receivers have performed through the first half of camp?
A: It doesn’t say anything. This was – listen, I’ve been a big Anquan fan from afar. Even if I had the likes of Jerry Rice and guys like that on this team, to get an Anquan is an addition and has zero to do with where our receivers are.
Q: He has played in the slot and outside. He has position flexibility and I know you guys like that. Is that where you envision him, kind of fitting in both spots there or will he kind of concentrate on one or the other?
A: I think, right now, he’s made a lot of hay over the middle as a possession receiver, short yardage, red zone – all that stuff. But he can definitely win outside still. You can see it on film.
Q: What does this move say about how you guys feel in terms of being able to compete on the field here in 2017 and push for the playoffs?
A: Again, my job is to win now and to win in the future and you’re going to constantly hear me say that. Anquan is a move for now, but he’s also a move for the future in the sense that this guy can show what it takes. He’s been there – Super Bowls, I mean, you name it, he’s done it. Again, I listed [that] he’s ninth all-time on [receptions]. I believe he’s an easy Hall of Famer. [Walter Payton] Man of the Year, all that stuff is what he brings, not only to help the 2017 team but ’18, ’19 and so on.
Q: How important is it that even after 14 years he was productive with eight touchdowns last year?
A: I mean it’s impressive. When you look back, he had eight touchdowns, 67 receptions. That doesn’t just happen in the NFL. You see him win. Even if his speed is not what it was – you know, he was never a burner – but he still knows how to win, he knows how to play the game. Contested balls, he comes down with his fair share and then some.
Q: How much did his familiarity with Tyrod [Taylor] help this deal out?
A: That’s a bonus. No matter who was quarterbacking, Anquan’s a guy I would have loved to add to our team for what he brings. But that is a bonus. They know each other. I believe he caught Tyrod’s first pass so hopefully we can get that reconnection going.
Q: Brandon, a bit of a philosophical question when it comes to building a roster. You came in after free agency a little bit late but how much do you factor in where you guys stand with the compensatory pick formula when you’re making those final cuts and determining what [Stephon] Gilmore and other guys walking out and cutting certain guys to get certain picks?
A: You know, I wouldn’t be doing my job if I don’t pay attention to that so obviously, I do. But again, I’m factoring a lot of decisions, a lot of reasoning going behind every decision, but I’m very aware of, when I walked in, how the [compensatory pick] formula works. I believe you use it when you can, but not in throwing a worse team out there as well. Hopefully that answers your question.
Bills OC Rick Dennison
Q: Can you just give us your take a little more than a week into camp are things on schedule? It looks like to us the defense is always a little ahead of the offense, but are you starting to catch up?
A: You see on a day-to-day basis guys doing things, the little things right. Once we get that all corrected then the whole thing looks better. So, the techniques are getting better. That individual time that we have is paying off. Each coach works on their specific – I think the schemes, you know, we’re starting to catch on and less mistakes, mental errors. So, have to hang onto the football, you know, they’re doing a good job punching the ball out and keep that operation going.
Q: What do you want to see out of your offense in the first preseason game?
A: I want to see tempo. I want to see them up and down, have a sense of urgency every play, obviously being physical running the ball – see if we can do that and you know just operate whatever call we have. I told them a long time ago, we’re going to be right on some calls, we’re not going to be right on, but it’s up to them to make some plays.
Q: I know Sammy (Watkins) finished yesterday. But just with his rolling the ankle, will he be limited at all today?
A: I have absolutely no idea. Not in my viewpoint. I don’t know. That’s up to Shone Gipson.
Q: When you look at Tyrod (Taylor), he’s on his third offensive coordinator in three years. What are the challenges that Tyrod faces and what are the challenges that you face trying to keep his head from swelling from one scheme to the next?
A: Well, I can’t speak for anything that’s happened in the past. I know I had him before in Baltimore. He understands what we want done, it’s just keeping him on the same page, listening to his feet, getting the ball out on time. That’s the biggest thing for me and him working on. He’s bought into it, he knows what he needs to do, he knows that the ball will get out. He knows where everybody is, that’s the biggest thing for me, distribution and if you’re to tell him to move on, he has to move on, can’t wait for a route to open up. If it ain’t getting there, something is wrong so he’s got to move on.
Q: How much will you be looking at in the first preseason game? You know his internal clock?
A: Sure, we look at it every day. So, a preseason game is for us it’s the same, just like a practice we need to get it out. Obviously the competition is live and everything else, but it’s the same competition every day there’s no difference. We go through our reads on a day-to-day basis and make sure that’s done in a timely matter.
Q: Is there a greater emphasis for him to stay in the pocket?
A: No. Whatever play we’ve got called, he is going to do it. Sometimes he’ll be out of the pocket, sometimes he’ll be in the pocket. Third downs, particularly, people start matching up and going back to your fourth check-down. I’m not emphasizing, I’m just emphasizing running the play that’s called, going through his reads.
Q: The long-time veteran like Richie Incognito, you knew him before you coached him. But now that you’ve been around him, what are things that you see and especially when you’re teaching an offense that’s pretty much as new to him as anything?
A: Well, like all those guys up front – and they’re working their tails off, Richie’s no different. He and Eric (Wood) kind of lead those guys as they go because they’re always hustling around, working -- and he’s putting in a lot of work. To me, he’s a big, physical guy and he’s more athletic than I thought. I remember when he came out in the combine, he looked good and then he got hurt at the combine. Just looking at tape – and I didn’t have to study, we weren’t looking at him – but, just crossovers. I really think he’s moving around very well, he’s getting some things done and Juan (Castillo) has done a good job of trying to get those guys to transfer what he wants to do, particularly in pass-protection situations and what not. I think those guys really bought into it. [They say] this is what we need to do, run the ball, get them up at the line of scrimmage and throw it over their heads.
Q: What is your thought on doing shared practices at training camp with other teams?
A: There are some pluses and some minuses in my experience. We’ve done them before. One time we actually shared a practice after a game, which was an interesting concept. I think it kind of breaks the monotony of practicing against yourself – not that it’s monotonous, it’s [just] a different deal so it changes the juice a little bit. But, I think there [are] some minuses. There’s bigger collisions, there’s bigger problems because they’re only worried about themselves rather than trying to build a team.
Q: With respect to Jonathan Williams, how would you assess his consistency through the first half of camp?
A: I think he’s ironing some things out. In the spring, he had some – we had some discussions with Kelly [Skipper] and I just trying to get a few things straightened out and I think he has really done that. I think he has focused on the things that we thought would help him out and he’s done those and become a much more consistent player.
Q: Are there specific things, though, that you wanted changed?
A: No, I don’t think so.
Q: Were those on-field things or off-the-field things?
A: They were on-field. I’ll let everybody else deal with the off-field [stuff].
Q: Rick, the right tackle position – how would you characterize the competition right there right now. Is Dion [Dawkins] still kind of in the mix? It seems like Jordan [Mills] has really been the one that’s been there all along.
A: No, I think like any position, it’s still going to be – it’s all going to be based on game time. We got to see them play. Practice is great competition, but obviously the game is a different feel. We have to go through the whole preseason and it won’t be done on one play and it won’t be done on one game. I think it will be done on the entire scope of all their work. We’ll just see how that goes and we know that we’ll have two good football players. We’ll just see who gets on the field more.
Q: Rick, has anybody separated themselves at wide receiver heading into the preseason?
A: I think the group has worked very hard. Obviously, Sammy [Watkins] is very skilled. But that’s what why we picked him. We’re trying to get him more reps and he’s still catching up to some things because he missed OTA’s. But no, I think the group – we’ve had some highs and some lows as a group, not to point anybody out. I think each of them has made strides and [we’re] trying to get to that point.
Q: How do you see Logan Thomas’s transition in training camp? Obviously, it’s a new position, but how have you seen him grow as camp’s gone on?
A: Well, I think, obviously, just time on task he’s gotten better. The first time he had to block the defensive end was the first time he had to block a defensive end. The more you do that, the better you get at it. I think he’s a big target running down the middle of the field. That helps [the QB] find him, that’s for sure. But I think he has improved, certainly [the] same thing [where] we got to see him live. We got to see some things happen in games. Those experiences in practice will help him in the game and obviously the game experience will be great.
Q: Just getting back to Tyrod real quick. You talked about getting the ball out and things like that – anticipating guys getting open. In your opinion and your experience, do you think an anticipatory thrower is something that can be developed in a quarterback or is something that just a quarterback has?
A: I think anything can be developed. I really do. I think if you work with a kid, no matter what position they play, you can develop good habits. You can develop what you want as long as you’re working. That’s what we do in individual [workouts]. It’s all on the spot going through the whole thing, so yes I think that can be done.
Q: How do you feel Zay Jones has handled what you guys have thrown at him in terms of learning?
A: Well, we had to move him around a little bit but he’s young so young receivers have to know more than one position. I think that may have cost him a little bit a couple days ago but then he bounced back and had a good day yesterday. I think he’s handled it very, very well. I think he’s very positive every time we go out there. He’s trying to find something that he can improve on and he does that every day.
Q: How would you characterize where Nathan Peterman is at this point in training camp?
A: Well, Nathan – he’s a smart kid. That’s one of the reasons why he’s here. I don’t think he’s done – I think he’s done a very good job. I think he blends in with those two guys. They talk about everything we’re going through. It’s a full-fledge conversation. He gets quizzed, he understands what he did wrong as soon as he does it wrong, and he’s made improvements in that regard so I think he’s done a good job – a very, very good job. He reminds me a lot of – his progression is a lot like T.J. [Yates]’s when he was a rookie. I think the two of them, comparatively – I’m just talking their skill sets are just a little bit different, but as far as adjusting and doing the right things, I think that’s along the same lines.
Tight End Charles Clay
Q: You finished off that two-minute reel nice. It’s not often you see the guy sitting in the middle of the field getting gunned to on the last play, but there you are.
A: Yeah. You know, we just got in a situation and Tyrod [Taylor] just trusted me in that situation. The more I can continue to make plays like that for him and for the team, the more I can just continue to build that trust with him. It was big, man. It’s always big to finish out the end of a practice when everybody’s tired and to push through and finish with a two-minute drill and finish with a touchdown is good.
Q: Tyrod talked to us the other day about being a little more risky. Taking a few more risks, trusting guys like you, Sammy [Watkins] and other people. Did you see that today - because he wasn’t shy about zipping it in there?
A: Yeah, no. And I’ve seen this since OTA’s. He’s coming out, taking the correct footwork and getting rid of the ball on times. Like you said, just trusting guys and the more that we can continue to make those plays for him, the more he’ll trust us. At the end of the day, he pulls the trigger so it’s up to us to make a play.
Q: Sometimes, you watch Tyrod – especially in college – where he would take chances and make plays, and then you get in the NFL and it’s just drilled into everybody to not turn it over. Do you think a guy like him needs to be freed up a little bit that way?
A: I mean, at the end of the day, honestly, the turnover thing is the number one thing that translates into winning football. So, anytime you have a quarterback who doesn’t turn the ball over it’s a good thing, but at the same time you have to take risks. When you have some the playmakers that we have, guys like Sammy (Watkins) you know I don’t think we can be covered. The more you take those risks, like I said, the more we just have to take advantage of. You don’t want to be too risky, you know, throw the ball all over the place, but at the same time you take calculated risks and that’s what I feel like he’s been doing.
Q: Coach (Rick) Dennison said you could develop anything mainly throwing players open instead of waiting for them to get open. Have you noticed that as a difference for Tyrod this year? Going off of Mike (Catalana)’s point he’s taking more risks by throwing guys open, instead of waiting for them to get open.
A: Yeah, and like I said, he’s been doing a good job since OTAs, you know, positioning the ball. He’s very accurate in placing the ball where he wants it to be. And like I said he’s been doing a good job, but it’s up to us to make those plays.
Quarterback Nate Peterman
Monday, August 7, 2017
Q: How do you see your game progressing at this point?
A: It’s good. I mean, we’re kind of done with our install – our eight days of install – so now it’s just been reviewing all those plays and then just getting into the timing and the rhythm of the offense. Got to protect the football.
Q: You’ve seen some work with both the second- and the third-team offenses. What are the benefits of working with different groups and especially elevating up like that?
A: I think [the benefit is] just knowing how those teams operate as well. The two’s – how the center snaps it, how the o-line operates in-and-out of the huddle, and then just going out there and trying to execute with both groups.
Q: Is it a good confidence boost to see that less than two weeks into camp you’re already moving up, so to speak?
A: I don’t know. Every day, I just try to come out and get better from the last [day]. I think I need to take [care of] the ball a little bit better and make some better decisions here and there. I’m just trying to get better every day.
Q: Do you feel like you’re the type of player who likes to take chances a little bit more?
A: No. I think I’m the player who just wants to win. However we can get that done – completing the football, whatever the defense gives us – if it’s deep, if it’s short, [we’re going to] do whatever we can.
RB Jonathan Williams
Q: It looks like you’re playing faster. Do you feel everything is faster for you now?
A: I feel like I’m fast. I feel everything has slowed down, definitely. It’s just exciting because I always had that confidence in myself even though I wasn’t where I wanted to be last year, I always had that confidence in the back of my head. I always knew what I could do. I always knew that I could help this team out so being able to come back, and being able to put on the type of camp that I plan on doing and that I knew I could is exciting.
Q: So you feel you’re at that game speed that you want to be at?
A: Yes sir.
Q: Tyrod (Taylor) has talked about the more risk-taking, trusting guys a little bit more. It looked like we saw that from him in two-minute. Just what are you seeing from him?
A: He’s a great guy, great quarterback. Definitely, a great leader, a guy that’s always in his book. Like you said, he said he’s going to trust guys, he’s moved the ball pretty well down here and he’s been looking good. He’s been looking good and taking control of the offense, so I’m excited.
Q: What do you want to get out of Thursday night, personally and as an offense?
A: I know it’s preseason, but I want to win. The starters probably won’t be in a whole lot and all of that, but it’s still a game. It’s still a game for the Bills, a home game, so I want to win.
Q: I know that the running backs are a little bit more involved in the passing game this year. How much did you do that at Arkansas?
A: We didn’t do much at all at Arkansas. I always could catch, but we didn’t really run routes out of the backfield. I mean, I lined up as a receiver one time and caught a touchdown, but we didn’t do much of it at all. So, it’s definitely a learning curve. Coach Skip has done a great job in teaching us and correcting us, and I’ve taken that from the film room and applied it to the football field.
Q: Coach Dennison said there’s things that you’ve been working on. Could you kind of elaborate on that a little bit for us?
A: Just seeing those lanes. It takes time, a little bit of time. Ball security is definitely big for everybody. Definitely when you have that ball in your hand it affects everybody, it affects both sides of the ball – offense and defense and special teams, as well with ball placement and where the ball is on the field. So all those things are things that I think about mentally before I step out on the field and I apply them on the field.
Transcript courtesy of the Buffalo Bills